AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

In this Feb. 5, 2010, file photo, a laboratory technician prepares samples of urine for doping tests during a media open day, at the King's College Drug Control Centre in London. (AP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

  • Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus

LONDON: Artificial intelligence (AI) and data have allowed health systems and governments to predict and ascertain coronavirus patient demand curves, as well as find out where and what type of capacity is needed, the group chief financial officer at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) said during a webinar on Friday.
That enabled hospitals in Abu Dhabi to be equipped with ventilators to treat critically ill patients and “to effectively double our ICU (intensive care unit) bed capacity … in a relatively short period of time,” George Kapitelli said.
The webinar was titled “Artificial intelligence in the time of COVID-19.” It was hosted by the Emirates Society in the UK, and was moderated by its Chairman Alistair Burt.
Other speakers included Orlando Agrippa, CEO of Draper & Dash Predictive Healthcare Analytics, and Northumbria Healthcare CEO Sir James Mackey.
Agrippa said: “What we want to do as a health system in Abu Dhabi is not to tackle this virus from a sort of guessing perspective. We want to leverage data, analytics and advanced technology to be able to get in front of it and really manage it at a cellular level.”
He added: “We started looking at what South Korea was doing, what Singapore was doing, what the guys in Germany are doing, or Sweden, that made their situation different from others. We spent an enormous amount of time looking at that.
“We looked at splitting the population into categories. The Middle East has a very different population configuration than the UK, for example.
“We had to do all those things to try to get some sense of when it (COVID-19) will peak, and what will be the true demand and true capacity requirement.”
Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus.
“What I see in the UAE, compared to my home country Australia, is a much better application of basic principles of social distancing and wearing masks and gloves,” he said. “People just accept that here (in the UAE), and I think that obviously plays a positive role.”
Sir James said the use of AI and data gathering is essential in order to be prepared for the next phase of coronavirus.
“One of our problems throughout this whole episode has been access to data beyond our own boundaries,” he added.
“In terms of trying to understand what was coming, our main source of information was ringing friends in London and finding out what was happening there — London was always about two weeks ahead of us (Northumbria). That’s a big gap that we’ve got to close down ahead of this next phase.”

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

Updated 07 July 2020

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

  • 30 percent of pilots grounded including 107 in foreign airlines

KUALA LUMPUR: The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) will reinstate Pakistani pilots as soon as Pakistani authorities verify their permits, an official told Arab News on Monday, after their temporary suspension due to a fake license scandal. 

Pakistan grounded almost 30 percent of its pilots last week after the country’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that they might have falsified their qualifications. 

Pakistan has 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines.

“The CAAM has sent two letters requesting verification from PCAA (Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority) as well as to inform them on the temporary suspension of Pakistani license holders in Malaysia,” Nurilya Anis Rahim, a public relations officer at CAAM, said in an email. 

Rahim added that the pilots’ licenses had been put on hold until further information from the PCAA.

“We are currently still waiting for a response from PCAA. Once an official confirmation has been made, we will reinstate these pilots with immediate effect.”

Captain Chester Voo, CAAM CEO, announced that it would temporarily suspend 20 Pakistani pilots employed with “local operators” such as flying schools, flying clubs and training organizations.

Rahim said that the decision was taken to ensure the safety and security of Malaysia’s civil aviation industry. 

“It is to ensure that all employed pilots in this country hold a valid license and abide by Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Regulation.”

The UK, EU and Vietnam have banned Pakistani pilots and barred Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) operations as well.

One analyst said that Malaysia’s stand was part of its “zero-compromises” approach.

“Malaysia has always taken a conservative stance which includes a zero-compromise on the integrity of certification and qualification of pilots,” Rizal Kamaruzzaman, a Malaysian aviation expert and executive director of Tindakan Strategi, told Arab News.

He added that the joint verification approach was an excellent opportunity for regulators in Pakistan and Malaysia to “clean” the register and weed out all pilots with dubious qualifications. 

“The move by the CAAM will also alert the rest of the airlines and general aviation aircraft to review the technical crew manifest flying into Malaysia and will definitely have a ripple effect on the aviation sector.”

He urged aviation regulators from other countries to learn a lesson from Pakistan.

“The trust and mutual recognition among regulators are a sacred pact to ensure safety for aircraft, pilots, crews, engineers and the main client that are the passengers are not compromised anywhere around the world,” he said.